The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

68° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Q&A; with Michael Gates Gill

    Michael Gates Gill, author of the national best selling book, How Starbucks Saved My Life, tells of the trials and inspirations that molded the idea for the book during a signing event in the UA Bookstore yesterday afternoon.
    Michael Gates Gill, author of the national best selling book, “”How Starbucks Saved My Life,”” tells of the trials and inspirations that molded the idea for the book during a signing event in the UA Bookstore yesterday afternoon.

    Heading into his mid-60s, Michael Gates Gill had it all – a dream job, a great house, a nice car and a hefty six-figure salary. It was only after he lost it all that he realized what his life had been missing all along. Reporter Joel Childers sat down with the author of “”How Starbucks Saved My Life”” to discuss life, salvation and how to find true happiness.

    Can you tell us a little about yourself and what your book is about?
    The book is really a story of a person that had it all – the American dream and the external measures of success, a six-figure job, a new car, and then I was fired, divorced, diagnosed with a brain tumor. I lost everything. And just by accident, my life took a whole new course.

    Can you elaborate a little on the external measures of success you mentioned and the measure of success that you hold now?
    Yes. Well, one of the things when I grew up with everything like that, was that I expected that part of life was that you had to have a big car, a big job, a big salary and that kind of thing. What I realized through losing all of that, and finding a new kind of happiness, is that it is not the external measures of success that bring happiness.

    I think for a lot of young people, external measures of happiness are what is important. What kind of advice would you give to students that have that mindset?
    Well, there is nothing wrong with achieving something, but this life is very brief, even at any age, and it is terrible if you focus on externals rather than your own internals. We all are competitive and we all see someone else and get jealous, and pretty soon we get totally focused on what everyone else is doing, and you might forget what you want to do. There is nothing wrong with success and achievement, but (what’s) most important is: Am I happy with what I am doing?

    Do you believe that it was Starbucks itself that saved your life, or rather your experiences outside of the advertising business, your experiences with your family and experiences with a different lifestyle?
    That was more a metaphor, more a symbol. In my case it was going from being served to serving. The reason I found salvation was because I learned to trust my own heart. The story is not about Starbucks. The story is about a person that spent their whole life chasing external measures of success, and when I lost it all, I found a new kind of happiness I never imagined before.

    You also said that “”time, in America, is mismanaged.”” What did you mean when you said this?
    Well, it starts at a very early age, I think. At a college or university, we spend so much time running around, and so little time just in solitude that an individual deserves. I think that everyone should grant themselves a couple of hours at least every couple of days to just say: This is my time. In America today, we’re nuts, the way we run around so much and every minute has to count. That’s nuts.

    More to Discover
    Activate Search